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New group formed to keep York Mystery Plays alive
Supporters’ Trust chairman Alex Hughes; Mystery Plays co-directors Paul Burbridge and Damian Cruden; Trust communications officer James Eaglesfield; Trust vice-chairman Linda Terry and director of the National Centre For Early Music, Delma Tomlin
A NEW group has been launched to keep the York Mystery Plays tradition alive following the runaway success of last summer’s spectacular outdoor production.
The York Mystery Plays Supporters’ Trust is backing plans to stage the plays on the back of wagons in city-centre streets next year, but also wants to see major fixed-stage productions every four years – the next in 2016.
Organisers have suggested fringe productions could also be staged at other times in the calendar, such as the Nativity at Christmas and Crucifixion at Easter.
The Plays were staged amid the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey in the Museum Gardens last summer.
It was the first major fixed-stage production since the Millennium Mystery Plays were performed in the Minster, and the first time they had been staged in the gardens since 1988.
Audiences beat the 30,000 target set by organisers, and national theatre critics hailed the Plays as a “splendid spectacle and a production which ‘shimmers with life.”
Trust chair Alex Hughes said the success of the Plays also led to a renewed enthusiasm and commitment for them in the York community.
She said the trust was formed after many of those involved in the 2012 production had met in the autumn to discuss how they might support and encourage the Plays to continue.
“With the wonderful goodwill and interest generated by last year’s production, it was important that a new group was formed to keep the momentum going,” she said. “The Mystery Plays are an important part of the city’s heritage and also its future. The Trust will be there to keep spreading the word, raising funds and helping to keep this tradition alive for future generations.”
The trust was officially launched to an enthusiastic reception at the De Grey Rooms.
For more information, go to ympsupporters.org